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12:36 PM: Trump brought leadership turmoil to security agencies in run-up to Capitol riot
The three top federal agencies responsible for protecting the nation — the Departments of Justice, Defense and Homeland Security — are all being run by acting officials as the United States endures one of its most sensitive national security crises.
The leadership vacuum is the product of President Trump’s tempestuous relationships with his Cabinet secretaries and tendency to replace them for long periods of time with acting officials who lack Senate confirmation — a pattern that has led to turmoil atop critical federal agencies for much of his presidency.
Never has the absence of confirmed leaders seemed more pronounced than now. All three agencies were being led by acting officials in the run-up to the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, where extremist Trump supporters who embrace the president’s false claims of election fraud stormed the building to demand that lawmakers dispute President-elect Joe Biden’s victory during a pro forma confirmation of the electoral college vote.
Read the full story here.
By: Matt Zapotosky, Paul Sonne and Nick Miroff
12:20 PM: Biden to unveil emergency coronavirus plan, with major focus on vaccines
Biden is preparing to unveil an emergency relief plan Thursday evening to combat the coronavirus and deliver direct economic aid to American families, with a major focus on boosting vaccine production and delivery as the pandemic surge continues.
The package will be narrowly tailored in an effort to garner GOP support, according to multiple people briefed on its contents, with an overall price tag below $2 trillion. It will be followed by a broader recovery plan with more expansive Democratic priorities, but after campaigning as a bipartisan dealmaker, Biden wants to give Republicans the opportunity to get behind his first legislative effort as president.